By Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.
For those of us that live in Alabama, we are well aware of the fact that Huntsville is the fastest growing city in the State of Alabama and in all probability the most technologically advanced city in the State of Alabama.
There is a little town called Triana; up until recently an all black town about 20 minutes from Huntsville. Why hasn’t it grown?
Here is a little information about the City of Triana:
Population 496 by U.S. Census of 2010, more than 1,000 by city count of water meters and calculation of two residents per meter average. Median age: 37, Education: 71 percent high school graduates or higher, Median household income: $40,000, Poverty level: 29 percent of residents at or below.
Triana was originally incorporated on November 13, 1819 as the second town in Madison County. It purposely was named after Rodrigo de Triana, the crewman who first sighted land while sailing with Christopher Columbus on their first voyage to the Americas. For a time in the 19th century, it was a thriving riverport on the Tennessee River prior to the construction of the railroads. Its incorporation later lapsed and it was reincorporated on July 13, 1964. As of the 2000 and 2010 U S. Censuses, it is the only incorporated community in Madison County with a majority black population.
Also at the present time, Triana is a city with one police car, two policemen, one fire truck that usually breaks down while enroute to putting out a fire.
Up until recently, this all black city near Huntsville – with most of the growth going on in the Huntsville area; none has spilled over into their town.
Just recently Triana developed a subdivision that has 50 homes with more under construction and a price tag of $126,000 to $160,000.
What has happened is these houses have been occupied by young professional whites. For the first time, the City of Triana has three whites on the City Council. If I had to guess what the political future would look like in Triana in the next four years, my guess would be they would have one black on the City Council and everybody else would be white including the Mayor and Vice Mayor. It would behoove the black people on the city council to sit down with all of the whites and say, “Let’s make Triana grow together.” So when history is recorded, from a city that was all black until recently, it would record that black people played a part in the growth and development.
In order to do this, they would need the following: The street that is a way in and out of town needs to be changed. There needs to be more than one way to go in and out of the town. There needs to be an industrial park development, a Walgreen’s or CVS Drug Store, and a Wal-Mart or something similar. They need to have their own school system and their own water system. There needs to be service stations, a huge public park, some form of adult entertainment and a huge city center that would include a city hall, court system, city council, police department and fire department.
In other words, in plain and simple terms, there needs to be a $500 million investment. There is an old saying: “In order to walk one mile, you have to take one step.” Triana has to take one step and take what they can get and build on that.
There is no reason in the world as to why Triana should not be growing. In plain and simple terms, if the black people in Triana do not start this process fast, then we can go back to my title that states, “Thank God for the white folks.”